Juliane Smoker summed it up well: “Organ donation is a tragically beautiful thing.”
When her husband, Mike, was in the hospital after suffering an aneurysm, she learned he had registered as an organ, eye and tissue donor. Though this initially was hard to hear during an exhausting and emotional time, Juliane now is thankful for Mike’s decision to donate. She found opportunities to express her grief with other donor families.
“Donation provided an immense support system I didn’t know existed throughout my mourning process,” she said.
She since has heard from families impacted by Mike’s donation, including his heart recipient. Hearing how grateful that family is for Mike’s priceless gift meant a lot to Juliane.
“Knowing people receive a second chance at life makes you feel more aware of the beauty in life,” she said. “I feel that, too. I don’t want to forget that feeling. I know I am changed from the experience of donation.”